Tag: Video Games

Campus Architecture

Campus Architecture

If there was anything I learned while touring college campuses about three years ago, it was to appreciate the architecture that each campus offered.

For me aesthetics were a fairly big driving factor in deciding where I wanted to go to school. It sounds somewhat petty and shallow I know, but I enjoy wandering and taking in sights. So it mattered.

Honestly the look of Cal State Fullerton as a whole was a strong component in why I decided to go there. I love being on campus, and that’s important for someone who’s commuting every day and wouldn’t have a reason to necessarily stay otherwise.

But I’ve come to appreciate campus architecture overall during trips to a number of California universities because of the kind of insight I’ve gathered at CSUF. Namely the idea that the kind of architecture you see is a signifier for what era the buildings were constructed, and as a result you can essentially walk through time and see what became more important for students over the decades or even eons that the campus existed.

Cal State LA and El Camino College were pretty strong examples of the vastly different building styles on different parts of campus from what I recall.

As was UCLA when I went and wandered that campus after a Boom event some years back. But that school is also massive and ancient so it’s a whole other beast in terms of things like structural construction.

Today I found myself at Pasadena City College, where Alyson was auditioning to be a part of the Tournament of Roses Honor Band. If she gets in she’ll be performing at the next Rose Bowl Parade, so… That’s pretty fricken cool if I do say so myself.

However parents and family were not allowed to sit in on the auditions. So my parents and I were sitting out on the campus proper enjoying a slightly overcast afternoon, some clashing musical performances from practicing students all around and absorbing the nervous energy of basically everyone taking their shot.

Delicious, pure nervous energy. It’s kind of nice when you’re not the nervous one.

As my set-up suggests, I decided not to just sit around the entire time perusing Twitter or whatever. Instead I wandered the campus to get a feel for the different pieces of architecture built over time.

Because, as previously suggested, I’m the kind of weirdo that enjoys that sort of thing.

Now I’m certainly not an expert in era-specific architecture by any means, so I can’t personally tell you which buildings are from which time period just by looking at them. I’m more of a fan from an aesthetic perspective, so that’s my main purpose here.


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I’ve always liked buildings where the top portion hangs beyond where the bottom portion ends.


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For some reason there were no sculptures in the sculpture garden…


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I like how the front of the library looks like numerous faces depending on how you look at it. It’s a goof.


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The avian-looking light above the door to E Building gets a thumbs up from me.


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This kind of tree plaza in front of a building seems like something I might build in Minecraft… I’ll have to save that idea for later.


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More trees, this time in pink! With clock towers. And cops.


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This building felt vastly different from the others because it was red, and I have no idea why it was red if nothing else is.


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It’s nice that even the parking structure gets to look cute.


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Obviously the newest-looking building I could find, the performing arts center looks modern as hell. Aly probably hates it from all that associative stress.


But of course, no architectural tour would be complete without also including at least one piece of bizarre modern art.

At PCC, I think this one took the cake.

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It’s just a horse. Made of wood.

The plaque included with the sculpture doesn’t explain anything except who donated the piece and what it’s called. So I have no idea why some artist decided to make a horse out of wood.

I’ll admit it’s impressive and well-constructed.

But just baffling to me.

So yeah. Pasadena City College. Pretty place, bizarre wooden horse. If you’re all curious about how Aly did in her audition, we won’t know until later, this isn’t really the post for that discussion.

Though I guess if you see me talking about the Rose Bowl Parade later, now you’ll know why.

Networking Matters

It’s the cliché you’ve heard a million times when it comes to breaking into whatever industry you want to break into.

I know I’ve heard it more than my share of times, especially considering the extra emphasis journalism places on not just networking for jobs, but networking for sources.

Usually I’ll just roll my eyes when I hear someone say it. Because everyone says it, despite the fact that it’s intrinsically simple and somewhat obvious advice.

But that advice played a big hand in two things that were relevant for my work today.

So I figured I should throw my hat in the ring just this once and remind you all that if you aren’t networking often, you should be.

The first case comes out of an earlier adventure. Remember when I went with my friend Mimi to see the Blizzard employees speak at the Fullerton Public Library?

While I was there I passed my business card along to one of the presenters, who said he would get it to someone in the HR Department.

Lo and behold, just a few days later a Blizzard Entertainment/Activision employee had signed up to be a Gladeo interviewee. Not the same person, granted, but still. I was highly appreciative.

Thus in the not-so-distant future I will be doing a profile of someone at Blizzard. Which is pretty awesome not just in terms of someone being interested in the work I’ve been doing, but also because I love video games. So who knows, if that goes well perhaps I’ll get access to more Blizzard employees and I can say I’ve gotten a wider breadth of understanding about the company under my belt.

So yeah. Going to random events just to network was a successful strategy for me.

My other more recent example is a bit esoteric, so stay with me.

When I was in elementary school, I spent a lot of time playing chess. Which sounds like I’m just inviting my own eminent torment and bullying I know, but it’s true. I was part of the chess club and everything.

Wasn’t too bad at it either, considering I won a number of trophies in little competitions. #HumbleBrag

One of the reasons I was so good at it was because I learned from a guy named Chessmaster Steve. He was, needless to say, the best.

Though I haven’t really thought about or heard from him since all those years ago.

Until today, if the obvious build-up to a point wasn’t obvious enough.

See when Chessmaster Steve was not teaching elementary school kids chess (even if I had assumed at the time that was all he did), he was apparently a trained physical therapist. One who now works for the Office of Veterans Affairs.

As it turns out, one of the Gladeo League reporters has been having trouble finding a physical therapist to talk to for a profile they’re working on.

So, long story short, my mom has kept in touch with Steve for all these years, and I was able to make contact with him so we can try to have the reporter set-up an interview.

Apparently I was playing the long-game when it comes to networking as well, because that’s a connection that I never in a thousand years would have imagined might become relevant.

That’s essentially my elevator pitch. Like I said I’m usually the person who rolls his eyes when someone says it, but networking and making solid connections is super important.

So make sure you get on doing that ASAP for whatever job it is you might be after.

Lecture over. Hope you all took notes because this is 100 percent going to be on the exam.

Halloween Horror Heroes

Halloween Horror Heroes

Obviously my blog posting schedule has been a little out of whack the last couple of days. Between exams and essays — one of which I was up from 7:00 p.m. to about 1:30 a.m. this morning finishing — I haven’t had too much time to write.

But considering I have now officially turned in that essay, bookending my week from hell, it’s time to relax a bit.

What better way to relax than talking about some spooky new Halloween units in Fire Emblem Heroes?

At least one in particular is especially beloved in my eyes. So I’m going to be trying something different with this new hero banner post by talking about the characters in order of how much I like them. That way I don’t have to waste a lot of time prattling on about “oh I want this guy over them because they’re great.”

That said, I’ve prattled on enough as is. Time for some spooks.


MyrrhSpooky Monster

Skill Set:

  • Spirit Breath (Might = 16, Range = 1)
    • Grants Defense +3. If unit initiates combat and unit’s Defense ≥ foe’s Defense +5, unit makes a guaranteed follow-up attack. If foe’s range = 2, calculates damage using the lower of the foe’s Defense or Resistance.
  • Bonfire (Cooldown = 3)
    • Boosts damage by 50 percent of unit’s Defense.
  • Defense/Resistance 2 (A Skill)
    • Grants Defense and Resistance +2.
  • Vengeful Fighter (B Skill)
    • If unit’s Health ≥ 50 percent and foe initiates combat, grants Special Attack cooldown count +1 per unit’s attack, and unit makes a guaranteed follow-up attack.
  • Armor March (C Skill)
    • At start of turn, if unit is adjacent to an armored ally, unit and adjacent armored allies can move one extra space.

Analysis:

Myrrh is my baby from Sacred Stones and I love her. That would have inherently put her at the top of this list today, but luckily she also happens to appear god damn broken.

An armored dragon completing our color trifecta alongside male Grima and Legendary Tiki (who unfortunately alluded me), Myrrh keeps the defensive breath of her original form, just presumably boosted by the fact that she’s a heavy armor unit. Vengeful Fighter and Armor March also speak for themselves in terms of giving her power as an armored unit… With Defense and Resistance +2 kind of standing out as being really terrible.

That’s the first thing I’ll replace in a heartbeat if I get a Distant Counter fodder like Hector. But otherwise it’s hard to find anything to complain about here.

Especially since she’s so gosh darn cute:

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MiaMoonlit Witch

Skill Set:

  • Witchy Wand (Might = 12, Range = 2)
    • After combat, if unit attacked, resets Special Attack cooldown of target and foes within two spaces of target, and inflicts the following status those units through their next actions: “Inflicts Special Attack cooldown charge -1 per attack during combat (only highest value applied, does not stack).” Skills that accelerate or slow Special Attack cooldown are still effective.
  • Recover (Range = 1)
    • Restores Health = 50 percent of Attack +10 (minimum of 15).
  • Heavenly Light (Cooldown = 2)
    • When healing an ally with a staff, restores 10 Health to all allies.
  • Speed/Resistance Bond (A Skill)
    • If unit is adjacent to an ally, grants Speed and Resistance +5 during combat.
  • Hone Fliers (C Skill)
    • At the start of the turn, grants Attack and Speed +6 to adjacent flying allies for one turn.

Analysis:

Mia isn’t a character who I personally care for like I do Myrrh, but she is the first flying healer in FEH.

So… Yeah. She gets a nice distinction from that. Even if I do think Nowi pulled off the witch-and-broomstick flying unit thing better last year.

In fact, probably my biggest problem with Mia here is that her weapon is really the only thing that helps her stand out wildly from Nowi last year. Because by god does she have a long-winded, complicated weapon. Guess we should thank Flora and Brave Veronica for getting us here.

Essentially, that wand of hers completely nullifies the opposing team’s Special Attacks. If you’re about to proc a Moonbow, it’s gone when Mia hits you. As is the attacks of everyone around that Moonbow user. After that, if I’m reading it right, it becomes harder to build up that Special Attack charge post-nullification. That’s a really powerful supportive niche to fill.


NilesForbidden Tease

Skill Set:

  • Devilish Bow (Might = 12, Range = 2)
    • Effective against flying foes. Inflicts Special Attack cooldown charge -1 on foe per attack during combat (only highest value applied, does not stack).
  • Smite (Range = 1)
    • Pushes target ally two spaces away.
  • Swift Sparrow (A Skill)
    • If unit initiates combat, grants Attack and Speed +4 during combat.
  • Attack/Speed Link (B Skill)
    • If a Movement Assist skill is used by unit or targets unit, grants Attack and Speed +6 to unit and target ally or vice versa for one turn.
  • Fortify Armor (C Skill)
    • At the start of the turn, grants Defense and Resistance +6 to adjacent armored allies for one turn.

Analysis:

Frankly, Niles makes sense as a unit to give a Halloween variant. More than Kagero, in my opinion — but we’ll get there.

I actually love the way Niles looks like he just haphazardly threw his outfit together with some plastic toys. It’s a great ensemble.

Beyond just his looks, Niles also stands out in that he’s an armored archer who builds up a significant amount of Attack and Speed to power up that bow, which is our second blue colored bow in the game. Interestingly enough, that bow also focuses on Special Attack cooldown. So I guess that’s our theme this year, like with panic-enducing weapons last year.


KageroBeverage Ninja

Skill Set:

  • Bottled Juice (Might = 12, Range = 2)
    • Inflicts Special Attack cooldown charge -1 on foe per attack during combat (only highest value applied, does not stack). After combat, if unit attacked, inflicts Defense and Resistance -7 on target and foes within two spaces of target through their next actions.
  • Draconic Aura (Cooldown = 3)
    • Boosts damage by 30 percent of unit’s Attack.
  • Mirror Strike (A Skill)
    • If unit initiates combat, grants Attack and Resistance +4 during combat.
  • Bold Fighter (B Skill)
    • If unit initiates combat, grants Special Attack cooldown charge +1 per unit’s attack, and unit makes a guaranteed follow-up attack.
  • Even Attack Wave (C Skill)
    • At start of even-numbered turns, grants Attack +6 to unit and adjacent allies for one turn (bonus granted even if no allies are adjacent).

Analysis:

Honestly… I have next to nothing to say about Kagero. Everything about her feels rather… Average.

Like it was jarring when Kagero showed up in a bunny outfit during the Spring banner. But the maid outfit is a bit low-key, and especially strange with her wielding “soda bottles.”

Which, by the way, I imagine must be beer in the Japanese version, right? Probably.

Past that lukewarm internal debate, she’s just rather average all-in-all. Sorry Kagero, but for now I’m going to pass.


For a banner labeled “The Land’s Bounty,” I have not exactly seen a lot of bountiful harvests thus far.

Ironically enough a lot of Niles, though. Not the Niles I’m looking for, but clearly he’s on my radar in some capacity.

To be fair I’m not exactly spending a lot of orbs on the banner yet. After being burned so bad by Legendary Tiki, I’ve spent a fair amount of time rebuilding my storehouse. So I’m trying to be a bit more frugal with my orb use for now — at least until the next Tempest Trials comes around.

But that said. Orbs. Paralogue story. Cliché transition.

Let’s do it!


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I do so love the aesthetic of the Harvest Festival maps. Especially this year where the generic unit design took inspiration from the recent Summer banners by having them hold weapons from last year’s celebration.

That’s just a nice touch no matter how you slice it.

Now unfortunately the actual story here is sparse and somewhat uninteresting, so I’m going to blow through it right quick.

We begin with Anna dropping this little piece of information on us:

I’m not entirely sure how this royal army is constantly running out of money… But I do appreciate the specific detail used here. Makes for some decent recurring comedy.

As does probably the only stand-out character detail in this Paralogue outside of Myrrh being the cutest thing on the planet. Dorcas, despite being the future Tempest Trials reward that we don’t have access to now, has a great bit with Niles.

After all we know Niles is a foul-mouthed scoundrel who wants nothing more than torment. Dorcas ain’t having none of it, and constantly walks away from the conversation.

It’s just funny, in my opinion.

In fact you can see a bit of the interaction during the character’s gathering together at the end:

After beating them all out and winning the Triwizard Tournament or whatever, the Order of Heroes gets a grand prize of candy and vegetables.

Hooray.

There’s a moment where Anna is so touched by the gesture that she sets out a plan to become self-sustaining and help the world.

Except that quickly devolves back into her wanting to sell that surplus for a profit.

Much laughs ensue. And no real progress was observed.

Amen.


In conclusion, Halloween is great and you all are great for reading this far.

How do you feel about the special holiday units this year? Which character truly is the spookiest?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments! Because frankly I just feel like wrapping this one up quick.

Highlighting Photo Composition

Despite having finally gotten through my major roadblock of the week, the Learning and Memory unit 1 exam (which I aced by the way), I still have just. So much homework to do.

So I’m going to probably do some smaller, passing over-type posts for the next two days or so. After Wednesday I’ll be more free to do whatever, and that will be kicked off by another Fire Emblem Heroes post.

Because yeah. There’s another banner coming.

But this time it’s the Halloween banner.

I’m rather excited about that because Halloween rules. Plus they announced the characters and Myrrh will be there.

That’s quite literally a story for another day, though. About two days from now in fact.

For now I’m just going to do a quick update on a different assignment that’s somewhat more fun.

Remember the other day when I mentioned getting that project in my Visual Comm class that I’ve gotten three times in three different classes now? If not I literally just linked to the post in that sentence.

I’ve been trying to branch out and take photos that aren’t all centered on the Cal State Fullerton campus, which is what I did the other two times I’ve done this. The professor argued that we should be using the project to “look closer and see patterns in the world around us.”

So that’s what I’m doing. Here’s what I’ve done so far:


Vertical Lines

A group of palm trees between the Kinesiology building and the Titan Bookstore. Likely going to be one of my only photos taken on-campus.


Horizontal Lines

A row of televisions set up at my Planet Fitness. Arguably some serious sensory overload, but I just pay attention to things on my phone anyway.


Diagonal Lines

Arguably two things: My household staircase or the ramp beside it. The latter is probably the more prominent element.


Alongside these lines, I also have to nab some pictures of shapes being prominent in pictures, as well as examples of the rule of thirds and of a Z-axis (in other words, something with objects in the foreground and background).

Out of everything I have juggling in my head right now, this assignment is arguably the easiest and most fun. So I figured the process would be worth briefly highlighting.

After all, perhaps it could help you also start to look at the patterns in the world you see every day.

Even though that’s super cheesy.

What does that song sound like?

What does that song sound like?

Everyone’s had those moments where they hear a song — be it in the background of a T.V. show, on the radio or a restaurant backing track, or whatever it may be — and can’t quite put their finger on what that song is.

If you haven’t had that moment because you have a photographic memory or something… Well the I’m sorry to be leaving you behind with this topic.

I have those kinds of moments fairly often, as I am a fan of a range of music but am not necessarily an audiophile like my Dad and sister.

But I’m not here to talk about remembering specific songs.

Rather, I’d like to talk briefly about what I would consider a much less discussed but equally prominent concern: Identifying exactly what category it sounds like that song should belong in.

I don’t mean something like “pop song” versus “rock song” versus”country song,” or whatever the overall genre might be. This is specifically about those times where a song sounds like other songs you’ve heard before, but you can’t quite put your finger on exactly what that similar sound is.

Now. This is an odd conversation topic on my blog I’m sure, considering I don’t talk too often about the particulars of music. I tend to just stick to the generals of “my sister played a thing” if I do bring it up.

But in this case the context suggests that it’s not a thing my sister played, because she doesn’t play video games anymore.

Yeah I’m still on that bit, Aly

See recently Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links got a major update. A much-needed one for me, as I was starting to drift away from the game.

Until they added on the next generation, 5D’s, and a novel (for me) summoning style called Synchro summoning.

Learning a brand new way to duel has gotten me right back into the swing of things. Synchros offer up an interesting level of field management that Ritual monsters attempted to hit but couldn’t, as you need to have a specific “tuner” monster on the field alongside a specific number of stars to summon a Synchro monster.

So many of the cards being added as a result are interested in flooding the field with monsters and augmenting the number of stars on a monster, that way you can summon things with specific requirements. It’s just the kind of micromanaging that makes me love to do things like deck build.

Which… Who knows, I just might do again soon.

Look out for some Synchro deck profiles, possibly.

But for right now that’s off-topic. The only reason I gave all that context is to get to the point that a new season of the anime being added into the game also means new characters to play.

New characters means new battle tracks. One in particular has caught my ear so far:

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Meet Akiza Izinski. I know literally nothing about her because I never watched 5D’s.

But I do know that in Duel Links she has absolutely amazing battle music.

I have to say, as much as I like a wide range of music, video game soundtracks are definitely at the top of my list. I could go on-and-on about different songs I adore from various games.

In fact, I’ve been considering doing video game music posts around here. Just haven’t really had the time to hash out a specific style for it.

But Akiza’s theme here is a real prime example of the kind of tune I can just melt into.

The opening ten seconds or so has a plain single instrument rift that brings to mind N’s theme from Pokémon, or Moonstruck Blossom from Kirby Triple Deluxe.

Then the song continues to build until about 30 seconds in, when the real magic begins.

At that point, the piano is co-opted by some kind of Theremin-sounding track that gives everything a techno/haunted house feel.

Even when the Theremin bits disappear, the song keeps its haunting undertone despite somehow also bringing a lot of battle-ready energy to the table.

The song overall is just really well-done, and makes grinding for cards against Akiza a real pleasure.

My problem is, as much as I can (somewhat haphazardly) explain the emotions that this song elicits, it’s hard for me to place exactly what the song reminds me of. Because it definitely reminds me of SOMETHING.

There’s an air of the haunting melody underlying Lusamine’s battle theme from Pokémon, as one of the comments on that YouTube video I used mentions.

Haunting yet beautiful. Her chief gimmick appears to be monsters based on roses, so it’s an encapsulation that makes sense.

I also get some heavy Binding of Isaac vibes. Not sure why for that one. It just does.

Unfortunately though, part of the reason I wanted to write this is because I’m hard-pressed imagining what kind of other songs this song reminds me of.

So I wanted to throw it out to all of you.

Does this song bring any others to mind? What kind of comparisons would you make for it?

Let me know down in the comments, and while you’re at it let me know if you’re interested in seeing me write about video game music more!

I get very passionate about that particular breed, so I’m sure I could do it in a heartbeat.

Don’t Sleep on this Legendary Dragon

Don’t Sleep on this Legendary Dragon

Remember that last Fire Emblem post I wrote where I said it seemed like Intelligent Systems was releasing banners at a mile a minute?

Well…

Here’s Legendary Tiki’s banner. Insert confetti hurray noise from Halo’s Grunt Birthday Party here.


TikiLegendary Dragon

Skill Set:

  • Divine Mist (Might = 16, Range = 1)
    • Effective against dragon foes. Unit can counterattack regardless of foe’s range. If foe’s range = 2, calculates damage using the lower of foe’s Defense or Resistance.
  • Moonbow (Cooldown = 2)
    • Treats foe’s Defense/Resistance as if reduced by 30 percent during combat.
  • Fierce Breath (A Skill)
    • If foe initiates combat, grants Attack +4 during combat and Special Attack cooldown charge +1 per attack (only highest value applied, does not stack).
  • Bold Fighter (B Skill)
    • If unit initiates combat, grants Special Attack cooldown charge +1 per unit’s attack, and unit makes a guaranteed follow-up attack.
  • With Everyone! (C Skill)
    • At start of turn, if unit is adjacent to an ally, grants Defense/Resistance +5 to unit and adjacent allies for one turn.

I’ll admit, some mix of trying to keep things short after my conversation with Spencer and general exhaustion from these showing up so often will probably result in this post feeling a bit bare-bones compared to most of my FEH posts.

But don’t let that fool you into thinking I’m not interested in Legendary Tiki. By all accounts she’s one of the strongest units released into the game, and she’s a character that I personally love having played both Shadow Dragon and Awakening.

Like. An armored dragon, colored differently than Grima, who hits the foe’s weakest defense stat at any distance with an affinity against dragons… There’s almost no downside. Even if I do think adult Tiki might have made more sense as a Legend to spotlight.

Either way she’s incredible. And I love her.

In terms of other things to say, I noticed that we’re running out of room on the Legendary Hero graphic now that Tiki has been added on:

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There’s a few different ways to take that information.

Perhaps we’re going to not get any more Legendary Heroes once it fills up.

More believably, perhaps after it fills up we’ll get a new graphic that’s just a repeat of this one. Personally, I believe we might see a new graphic emerge as soon as Book III of the story starts, bookmarking these 16 heroes as ‘Book II’ Legends.

Or who knows, maybe once the Legendary Hero listing is full we’ll get a brand new kind of special hero as a ploy to take all our orbs. The sky truly is the limit.

As usual, Tiki isn’t the only thing we have to focus on here today. There are also a number of other heroes stuffed into this Legendary Banner:

Right off the bat, colorless heroes are out of the running for me. The only one on that list I’m missing is Maribelle, and I unfortunately don’t care for her enough to risk getting another female Grima or Jaffar.

The other three colors have two heroes I don’t own that I am interested in summoning, though.

Bride Tharja and Karla for red, Legendary Tiki and Spring Catria for blue, as well as Legendary Hector and Sharena for green.

Though the green heroes much less so, to be fair. So namely red and blue stones are my interests this time around.

With 150 or so orbs to start off, I figured I would be wasting a lot in my search for Tiki. At this point I’ve spent ~50 of them, and even if I haven’t found Tiki the fruits of my labor have been sweet.

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I forgot to screenshot Micaiah’s appearance, so my apologies.

To be completely honest, Micaiah and Ike are a little underwhelming. As nice as it is to have them both as five stars from this banner, they’re my third and fifth duplicate of those units specifically.

Either of the other units on those colors would have been better in terms of getting something new. So let’s just say I’m not mad, but I’m fairly disappointed.

Karla, however, was a very welcome surprise. Even though her boon and buff aren’t great for me, she’s generally considered to be one of the strongest units in the game. Can’t argue with that!

Even if I am more personally interested in Bride Tharja. Don’t know if it’ll be worth risking the other two reds to get her now though, which is a shame.

But hey, Tiki and Catria are still on the table! I’ll just be slowing down on my summoning fervor from here.

Though the orbs that are coming out of Legendary Tiki’s battle map might help with that!


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Solid segue, Jason. Nailed it.

Out of the Legendary Battle maps we’ve gotten so far, this one is probably the map I would describe as being the most “eye-roll” worthy.

Even from the lowest difficulty, so many reinforcements arrive that I immediately knew I would not enjoy taking on the higher levels. The idea brought about more of a resigned sigh if anything.

Especially considering we’re continuing the trend of adding ‘Abyssal’ difficulty maps to these things.

Alongside Tiki we’ve gotten an Abyssal difficulty Legendary Hector map, as well as the return of the Legendary Robin/Grima map once more.

Maybe you’re interested in tackling those higher tier challenges, but I’m probably going to pass. Leave it to the experts like Pheonixmaster1, who has much more time to pour into these things.


Alright, that’s about all I have to say about Legendary Tiki. She’s a great unit that I want to summon, and even if I haven’t summoned her yet I did get a couple other fun five stars to mess around with.

Sorry that this post is coming later in the day once again. I had a Gladeo meeting to run this morning, so I wasn’t able to stay up late and have it out early.

Either way I hope you enjoyed my brief look at the new Legend!

Let me know in the comments, or somewhere on the Internet, who you want to see given Legendary Hero status next.

Also, let me know what your thoughts are on the next “era” of Legendary Heroes, whether we’re just going to recycle the idea for Book III or try something new. I’m pretty interested in thinking that over right now!

The Flame Kingdom’s Generals rise from the ashes

The Flame Kingdom’s Generals rise from the ashes

Boy Intelligent Systems sure has been relentless with all these new character banners lately.

Within the span of two-or-three weeks, we’ve gotten Genealogy units, Fates units and these Múspell units all in a row. Plus the return of the original Performing Arts banner for… Some reason.

Seriously IS I don’t understand why we brought that one back out of nowhere. Would’ve made much more sense alongside the festival units who essentially served the same purpose for this year.

But I digress.

On the bright side, these new units kind of stand on their own. They’re basically in the game because their story arc just ended, so there isn’t any sort of pomp and circumstance adding them in. We just saw the story they go along with, so no paralogues or anything to help flesh them out.

Sucks for anyone looking to nab some extra orbs, but it makes my job here today much easier.

So let’s see what these three generals bring to the table.


HelbindiSavage Scourge

Skill Set:

  • BÝleistr (Might = 16, Range = 1)
    • At the start of odd-numbered turns, grants Attack, Speed, Defense and Resistance +4 to unit and adjacent allies for one turn (bonus granted even if no allies are adjacent).
  • Vengeance (Cooldown = 3)
    • Boosts damage dealt to foe by 50 percent of damage dealt to unit.
  • G Duel Infantry (A Skill)
    • Grants Health +5. If unit is five star and level 40 and unit’s stats total less than 170, treats unit’s stats as 170 in modes like Arena (higher-scoring opponents will appear, stat total calculation excludes any values added by merges and skills).
  • Guard (B Skill)
    • At start of combat, if unit’s Health ≥ 80 percent, inflicts Special Attack cooldown charge -1 on foe per attack (only highest value applied, does not stack).
  • Infantry Pulse (C Skill)
    • At start of turn one, grants Special Attack cooldown count -1 to all infantry allies on team with Health < unit’s Health (stacks with similar skills).

Analysis:

To get to the elephant in the room right away, Helbindi and Laegjarn share the same A Skill, just for different contexts. I’m not huge into the competitive Arena scene, so I can’t tell you what it means for a unit’s stats to be treated as 170 outside of what the skills mention — the fact that higher-scoring opponents appear.

What that means I couldn’t necessarily tell you. You’d have to ask my friend Jonathan about that, because he’s very into the competitive Arena scene. I just love the characters.

That said, a Health buff is a nice compensation for people like me so it doesn’t seem like that A slot is wasted.

As far as Helbindi specifically goes, his weapon is kind of phenomenal, and his other skills that essentially vampire Special Attack cooldown for your team from the enemy team work well together.

But that weapon is what really stands out. We’ve had Odd or Even Wave attacks on a number of units (including Laevatein in this banner), but none of them have buffed every single stat. That’s kind of crazy.

Essentially, Helbindi is a unit that goes berserk every other turn. His stats get cranked up and he’s probably built up enough charge to release his Special Attack by then. I personally would replace Vengeance, but it’s the thought that counts.

He’s a solid green axe infantry unit in a pool that doesn’t have too many standout options.


LaevateinSearing Steel

Skill Set:

  • Laevatein (Might = 16, Range = 1)
    • Grants Attack +3. Adds total bonuses on units to damage dealt.
  • Swap (Range = 1)
    • Unit and target ally swap spaces.
  • Fury (A Skill)
    • Grants Attack, Speed, Defense and Resistance +3. After combat, deals 6 damage to unit.
  • Attack/Defense Link (B Skill)
    • If a Movement Assist skill is used by unit or targets unit, grants Attack and Defense +6 to unit and target ally or unit and targeting ally for one turn.
  • Odd Speed Wave (C Skill)
    • At start of odd-numbered turns, grants Speed +6 to unit and adjacent allies for one turn (bonus granted to unit even if no allies are adjacent.

Analysis:

Laevatein is probably my personal favorite of the three units here. From the very first opening trailer for Book II, when she and Alfonse duked it out in front of Surtr’s castle, I already loved her design. Then (Spoiler Alert) the fact that she was the only surviver by the end of Book II, left to be the next queen of Múspell, almost felt like a justification for that love.

In practice as a unit, she actually strikes me as being very similar to infantry Eirika — which again helps her stand out because Eirika has been my flagship unit in this game since forever.

If you count her weapon and the Link skill buff (though I’m not a huge fan of it generally), Laevatein can boast a 28+ Attack to her base stat every turn. Which is kind of wild, especially since she also gets a bit of a Speed and Defense buff in that perfect circumstance. Also Resistance thanks to Fury, but that’s a smaller deal.

Yet, on top of all that, she also has cumulative damage based on the bonuses she has applied. Her sword is literally a close-combat blade tome.

Which is pretty nuts?

Like I’m sure she’s a glass cannon to compensate that kind of power, and infantry units aren’t as great at abusing this kind of ability as the other three movement types, but it’s still just such a sweet base skill set.

I really like Laevatein, okay? I know everyone’s all over Veronica and all… So let me have this one.


LaegjarnSheathed Steel

Skill Set:

  • Níu (Might = 16, Range = 1)
    • Grants Speed +3. Adds 50 percent of total bonuses on foe to unit’s Attack, Speed, Defense and Resistance during combat.
  • Bonfire (Cooldown = 3)
    • Boosts damage dealt by 50 percent of unit’s Defense.
  • R Duel Flying (A Skill)
    • Grants Health +5. If unit is five star and level 40 and unit’s stats total less than 170, treats unit’s stats as 170 in modes like Arena (higher-scoring opponents will appear, stat total calculation excludes any values added by merges and skills).
  • Chill Attack (B Skill)
    • At start of turn, inflicts Attack -7 on foe on the enemy team with the highest Attack through its next action.
  • Distant Guard (C Skill)
    • Allies within two spaces gain: “If foe uses bow, dagger, magic or staff, grants Defense and Resistance +4 during combat.”

Analysis:

Laevatein’s older, deader sister feels a bit like diet Laevatein when just looking at her weapon specifically, but she adds a bunch of utility as a dedicated flying team unit.

Adding on stat buffs based on an opponent’s buffs is much more situational than a blade tome effect that you yourself control, even if it makes her more effective at tackling powerful enemies. Chill Attack and Bonfire are clearly meant to help with this as well, so it’s clear Laegjarn wants you to use her to kill off whatever Ayra or Zelgius the opponent is packing.

Her Duel Flying skill does the same thing as Helbindi’s skill, so I can’t speak to that much more beyond it being specifically for flying units.

Distant Guard is a nice skill for her as that dedicated flying unit, as it gives her flying allies a defensive buff when encountering bow-wielding units. The only problem is that +4 Defense probably won’t do much against the super effective bow damage, so it’ll wind up being more useful in making magic resistant fliers more resistant to it.

So… Yeah. I like Laegjarn as a character, but in terms of skills I’d almost consider her the most hit-and-miss of the three generals.

Plus I wouldn’t replace my Elincia even if I did get her. So sorry about that.


As I mentioned up top, there is no story section for this post. No extra orbs or anything.

Luckily I still had about 150 orbs stored up because of how easily I got the three girls of the Fates banner (who I’m still training up thanks to the recent event modes taking up my stamina, but that’s another story).

Thus I was able to dedicate everything I had toward summoning these Generals. It’s actually kind of a special banner considering they are original characters to Heroes, so they’re a bit more special than the units from other games — even if they’re fan or personal favorites.

But uhh…

I didn’t have to dedicate a lot of orbs to the task.

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I actually somehow managed to get the unit I really wanted on my first batch of orbs. I could probably stop now if I wanted and be happy about it, in all honesty.

But I won’t. Because I have a problem.

I’ll just be sure to space out my orb use a bit, just in case Intelligent Systems decides to curveball and throw us a Sacred Stones banner next. Or an Echoes banner.

Seriously it’s been forever since we’ve seen those games IS. Just give us something.

Except don’t give them toes when I have no resources to allocate. Thanks!


Well, that’s about all I’ve got for this FEH post. It’s a shorty boy because all we got was the new units, and honestly I can’t really complain about that.

It’s refreshing to have one of these posts where all I need to do is the fun part. Copying out skills and stuff in my little special pattern.

But of course we still need to get to the Call to Action formality.

What do you think of the Múspell Generals? Do you have a favorite, either by skills or by characterization?

Let me know, and let me know who you want to see next as well! Obviously IS is on a roll with giving us these guys, so I’m sure we won’t have to wait to long.

Blizzard at the Fullerton Public Library

Blizzard at the Fullerton Public Library

I wound up staying out much later than I expected with this one, so I’m going to go quick-and-dirty with this post to get it out before midnight.

I’ve been slipping a lot lately and want to hopefully rectify that.

That said, enough pussyfooting around. Let’s get into it.

Tonight I went to a really cool event with my friend Mimi. We got to see a few employees from Blizzard Entertainment speak at the Fullerton Public Library.

Apparently the library had reached out to Blizzard because one of the librarians was a huge fan, and I’m glad they did because it was a super fun event.

Three representatives from various parts of the company came to speak. There was Adam Gershowitz, the lead producer for Overwatch; Monte Krol, a software engineer for World of Warcraft; and Skye Chandler, a game designer who primarily also works on World of Warcraft.

One of the reasons I’d wanted to go was because I’m interested in the games industry. Obviously.

In that regard, it was a really informative little event. Adam explained the overall creation process using a very helpful analogy to making Spaghetti, Monte went through the various kinds of programmers who create the baseline for each department and Skye talked about designing characters, environments, items, quests and more.

They were all really personable, funny and had some great pieces of advice.

A few of my favorites from Adam specifically (as I really only took notes with him because I got so interested that I stopped) were:

  • When creating a game from the ground-up, find the nugget of what you want to do. The rest may be hard, but you’ll get there.

And:

  • If you can’t sit down and play your game every single night, you don’t have a good game yet.

On top of the advice, they also brought some really sick pre-Alpha development footage, primarily from Overwatch.

I tried to snag some screenshots, so they aren’t quite as cool as the videos we saw but they’ll have to do.

Having played a fair amount of Overwatch with my friends and half-following the Overwatch League last semester for my Entertainment Reporting class, some of this stuff was awesome.

Another great thing about the event was how open the Blizzard people were. One of the reasons I’m writing this so late is because, to put it bluntly, nobody knew how to shut up. In the best possible way.

Once the Q&A portion of the event started, a billion people had questions to ask, and many of them asked two-or-three questions. Some of them about hiring preferences, about skills they should develop… The kind of stuff you’d expect.

But each of the three presenters gave every single question an equal amount of love and focus. Most got at least five minute responses that were thorough.

It was really nice to see how much they cared about interacting with the fans and, often, aspiring students. Even if it got pretty hilarious when the Library around us closed for the night.

The Q&A as a whole wound up lasting until 9:45 p.m. or so. It was supposed to go until 8:45 p.m. because of closing time at 9.

So also shout out to the Public Library folks for recognizing the passion and letting it fester for as long as it did.

As a final note, I suppose it would be remiss of me not to mention my secondary, covert adult intentions for going to the event.

I’m sure you all know by now that I’m the managing editor for the Gladeo League, and I’ve been working on finding people for our reporters to interview.

What kind of a shrewd businessman would I be if I didn’t take a fun opportunity like this and use it for networking as well?

That said, another shout out to Adam Gershowitz specifically. It was very late and he was talking to a billion people at once, but he still took the chance to hear my quick pitch (because I didn’t want to steal too much of his time) and hold onto my business card so he could pass it along to their HR folks.

He was just a nice guy all around.

So, if you see me start to roll out some Blizzard employee interviews at some point in the near future, now you know the genesis of that.

To end this off with some kind of haphazard bow, third shout out of the night goes to Mimi for agreeing to come with me pretty much last second. Also for dealing with me holding her back to try and talk to the Blizzard people.

It was great, and I’m glad I was able to go and make it a friend chill time as well.

She’ll probably read this, so I’ll end it off with something for her: ❤️s around the Orc.

Marketing with Brand Recognition

Marketing with Brand Recognition

I tried Super Mario Cereal for the first time this morning.

Honestly? Was not a huge fan of it.

For those who don’t know, this stuff was a special tie-in breakfast item for the red plumber’s most recent adventure, Super Mario Odyssey. The box itself acts as an amiibo that gives Mario some bonus collectibles like coins or hearts in-game, though I haven’t used that particular functionality yet.

What I have done is eat the cereal — a combination of little grain stars and marshmallows shaped like Mario power-ups. It’s essentially rebranded Lucky Charms, which makes sense considering it’s a Kellogg’s cereal.

Even though Lucky Charms are a General Mills brand. So I guess it’s more like a competing Lucky Charms?

But I digress.

While I’ll mostly stay away from that cliché of the cereal not looking like it does on the box, the grain cereal bits actually stuck out in that regard for me. Instead of being fat little golden stars like you might see in Super Mario 64, the stars in this cereal are fine pointed like an asterisk.

It’s a bit un-Mario in appearance, but also I get the sense that the quality of the cereal itself would have been better if it were fatter. Because in it’s current state, this cereal is very granular and has some hard-to-chew shell bits in it.

The marshmallows are fine in their own right. It’s kind of hard to make a bad breakfast cereal marshmallow I suppose, though if I were to nitpick it did seem like each different kind of mallow tasted the same. Kind of like raspberry oddly enough, and I might have appreciated more of a variety there.

This little post has to be pretty weird for you all though, right? Because who am I to just be reviewing cereals out of the blue?

It’s not like I proclaim to have an expertise in cereology.

Which I thought was a term I made up until I saw it didn’t come back as misspelled and discovered cereology is the study of crop circles. Consider that my fun fact of the day for all of you linguists out there.

Frankly I wanted to talk about this cereal less for its merits as a cereal and more for its strange position as a marketing tool, because that’s something that I was thinking about while eating it.

I just figured it would make sense to start with a short discourse on my opinions of it as a tangible object before going into more strange psychological places.

See, in my house groceries are a pretty big topic of forethought. While there are impulse purchases on occasion upon seeing something interesting during a trip to the grocery store, more often than not we decide what we need before going.

Usually those purchases fill one of three goals:

  1. Replacing a commonly used item for the week, such as milk.
  2. Gathering more odd ingredients for a specific meal.
  3. Fulfilling some kind of craving.

Because of those general categories most food items fit into, a lot of the ideas behind shopping for specific items comes from top-down processing. Either we know which brand we want because we’ve used it before, or we’ve heard good things about that brand compared to others and decide to go down that route as a result.

When it came to the Super Mario Cereal, however, there wasn’t too much of that.

It’s very much an impulse buy despite the fact that (I at least) had heard of it before, because I never had the desire to buy it. So I never looked into it enough to garner an opinion on how it would be ahead of time.

Yet most items that we haven’t done at least some thinking about ahead of time wouldn’t usually get this kind of immediate pass. I’m willing to bet that 99 percent of the reason for the exception here is because of the Mario branding.

Let’s be honest, everyone knows who Mario is. People who don’t play video games know who Mario is. He’s that famous.

But I love video games. Mario makes up a pretty large percentage of the reason why.

So my family typically knows to buy video game-related things when we see it. If for no other reason than the novelty of the thing being attractive and fun.

I can’t imagine I’m the only video game lover that has instilled that kind of sentiment in his family. I’m willing to bet it’s exactly that kind of sentimentality which drives the (presumed) success of this kind of marketing project.

We buy Super Mario Cereal for the novelty. Because the cereal itself isn’t quite as super as it’s mascot would lead one to believe.

That, in its essence, is the brilliance of the marketing.

But that’s just my opinion on bizarre marketing pushes based on sentimentality and brand recognition. Let me know what you think about the topic below, and if you’ve encountered an item you’ve bought almost purely due to the brand recognition rather than any knowledge about it.

Also, if you really like the Super Mario Cereal, I suppose you can tear me down about that somewhere on the Internet as well. I won’t judge.

Hunting while Bedridden

I didn’t exactly have any grandiose plans for a blog post today in the first place, but I wouldn’t expect this one to be super long or involved anymore if I were you.

See, I spent most of the day at home today, but a lot of it was while indisposed. Cleaning the house and sleeping primarily.

Sleeping a lot. I mentioned starting to be sick during my Nintendo Direct post the other day, and since then it hasn’t exactly gone away. If anything it’s shifted from being more of a stomach bug to a head cold, and I’ve been laying around coughing with a sore throat for hours.

Fun stuff.

As a result, earlier I laid down to take a two, maybe two-and-a-half hour nap. Wound up sleeping closer to five hours.

Lost a hell of a lot of time to that, which is why I’m just kind of making it up as I go along now.

Figured if I was going to talk about anything, it would be the only not sick-related thing I did: Playing some Monster Hunter.

Because what else do you do when you’re laying down but not sleeping yet.

I’ve been having a blast with the game so far, and having to play it around school starting up actually made it more feasible to spread the content around. There’s a whole lot of it, and I’m maybe just finishing up the first third of the game — if you split it between low-rank, high-rank and G-rank hunting.

In celebration of finally breaking into high-rank, I figure why not share this cool new armor set I finished? In part because I honestly don’t use my Switch photo taking ability enough.

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This cool ninja outfit is the “Yukumo Sky” armor. Named after the Yukumo Region and made with hardwood from the nearby Misty Peak, this sweet gear has been outfitted with a number of decorations so that wearing it grants me ~40 percent higher critical hit chance and longer invulnerability periods when dodge rolling.

Paired with the Hidden Harmonic, a Hunting Horn made from the elusive Nargacuga, I have 70 percent higher critical hit rates and songs that provide Attack, Defense and Health buffs to my allies.

It’s one of my favorite combinations so far, a straight upgrade from the critical hit-boosting Shogun Ceanataur armor I used this horn with previously.

This kind of equipment set construction is arguably my favorite part of Monster Hunter, because it’s so much fun to beat down an increasingly large collection of complex monsters to see what sort of cool stuff can be done with their armor pieces.

However, another one of my favorite things in Generations Ultimate is just how darn pretty it looks, especially coming off of the 3DS generation.

I take some glamour shots once in a while, check some of them out:

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Here’s my Ceanataur armor, by the way. Crab boi.

There’s so many opportunities to do this and I love it.

Really I love this game a lot so far. After pouring so many hours into Generations on the 3DS, it’s cool seeing all of the new stuff that has been added into this version. I’m about three weeks in and still unlocking new locales.

It’s just sweet.

But that’s honestly about all I can think to write right now, because I’m still dying. Honestly I just wanted to get something out on my blog today.

So hopefully you enjoyed this goofy little thing. Maybe I’ll eventually come around to making more professional equipment set display posts one of these days.

If so, you can thank this post for being a trendsetter.